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450                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
be deducted from the debt. The Shah swallowed the bait
and accepted these proposals, but the Russian Minister
had to reckon with the Sadr-i-Aazam. That astute in-
dividual pointed out that, if it was open to Persia to
co-operate with Russia, it was equally open to join Turkey.
He added that, if Great Britain and France intervened
on her side, Persia might be able to sweep away the
humiliating treaty of Turkomanchai and win back the lost
provinces. The Shah was convinced by this reasoning,
and, although orders had actually been issued for assembling
forces in the provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermanshah, it
was now decided to watch events and not to commit Persia
definitely. This veering round on the part of the Shah
deeply chagrined Prince Dolgoruki, who vented his wrath
on the Sadr-i-Aazam. Nasir-u-Din made overtures to
Great Britain and France, and was advised by those Powers,
which had now joined in the Russo-Turkish war, to remain
neutral. This counsel, which was most displeasing to its
recipient and to the Court of Persia, caused the Sadr-i-
Aazam to view the Russian proposals with less disfavour.
Possibly he realized that it was dangerous to thwart Russia,
and possibly also the lack of energy and vigour with which
the war was waged by Great Britain, which did not make
any use of her Indian army, influenced him in the same
direction.
The Breach with Great Britain, 1855.—Persia was
undoubtedly annoyed with Great Britain, but the trifling
question which divided the two governments need not in
itself have caused a rupture. It is not impossible that it
was intentionally used for that purpose ; but it is equally
possible that the breach to which it led • was not foreseen
or intended by the Persian Government. In 1854 the
British Legation had engaged as Persian Secretary a
certain Mirza Hashim Khan, who had formerly been in
Persian employment but had quitted the service some
years before. The Sadr-i-Aazam objected to his holding
the post, and this point was yielded, as it was obviously
undesirable to employ as a go-between an individual
who was disliked by the Persian Minister. When the
Sadr-i-Aazam first expressed his wishes on the subject, he